OWYHEE, Nev. (KLIX) – High winds on Sunday forced fire officials to initiate voluntary evacuations in an area of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest south of Owyhee, where a large forest fire is burning.

The South Sugarloaf Fire, which was caused by lightning on Aug. 17, was last estimated at 200,692 acres or 312 miles, but officials say the blaze grew over the weekend.

Cabins in the forest were threatened on Sunday due to the fire behavior, said Anne Jeffery, public information officer for Great Basin Team 1, which took over fire management on Sunday. Weather was cooperating better on Monday, she said, but the voluntary evacuation order is still in effect until further notice.

There are isolated cabins in the area and cattle graze in area fields, she said, noting, however, that the whole Forest Service area is closed.

On Sunday 40 mph winds drove the fire about six miles in two different directions – east and northeast, she said. On Monday, the U.S. Forest Service said on its Facebook page that the acreage of the fire has not been updated "due to inability to obtain infrared imagery flight because of cloud cover."

Jeffery said 721 fire personnel are battling the blaze, which is only 53 percent contained. Full containment is not expected until Sept. 15.


Reporter Andrew Weeks may be reached at Andrew.Weeks@townsquaremedia.com or 208-737-6012.

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